Holiday Safety Tips from Concordia (2015)

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, and since many people start REALLY planning and decorating for Christmas this weekend, we wanted to give you a few safety tips to help keep you and your family safe and happy this season!

Holiday Lights
Electrical problems cause an estimated 50,000 house fires each year. Before channeling your inner Clark Griswold and stringing thousands of lights around your home to illuminate the entire neighborhood, follow these steps to help avoid an electrical fire:

  • Read the directions on the box closely.
  • Only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors.
  • If you live in an older house, it is a good idea to have an electrician over for a professional check-up before loading the outlets.
  • Check lights to make sure they are not broken or cracked, have bare wires or loose bulb connections, and immediately replace any damaged light sets.
  • Use no more than three light strands on one extension cord.

Holiday Cooking
Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires in the United States. Practice these good cooking habits to stay safe:

  • Stay in the kitchen while you’re frying, grilling, or broiling food.
  • If you have to leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire (oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, towels, etc.) away from your stovetop, including your apron or long-sleeved shirt.
  • Utilize the backburners of your stove as much as possible so that spills have less of a chance to fall on you or anyone else.
  • If you want to deep fry your turkey, consider using an oil-less deep fryer. Oil fryers can lead to serious burns, other injuries, and property damage.
  • If you do use an oil-based deep fryer, be extremely mindful of the temperature of the oil. If the oil exceeds the cooking temperature of 350 degrees, the vapors can ignite.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before placing in the fryer. A partially-thawed turkey will cause the oil to splatter and cause serious burns. According to the USDA, when thawing your turkey in the refrigerator, you’ll need to allow 24 hours for every four to five pounds.

Christmas Trees
Christmas trees cause an estimated 250 house fires each year resulting in deaths, injuries, and millions of dollars in property damage. Here are a few things to remember before putting the angel atop the tree:

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. The Christmas tree is often the first to ignite, especially if it’s dried out.
  • If you’re going with an artificial tree, choose one that is fire-resistant.
  • Place the tree in a sturdy stand so that it’s not in danger of falling over onto small children or pets.
  • Keep the tree out of the way of traffic, doorways, exits, and away from heating sources and candles.
  • Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Always turn off the Christmas tree before going to bed.

The Fireplace
Each year, there are several reports of fireplace accidents all across the country, causing a staggering 36 percent of residential fires in rural homes. There are many simple steps you can take to prevent a fireplace accident in your home:

  • Have a professional chimney sweep inspect and clean both the fireplace and the chimney annually.
  • Make sure there are no greens, paper, or other decor near or inside the fireplace, and ensure that the flue is open.
  • Extinguish the fire fully before leaving the house or going to bed, and allow ashes to cool before removing them.
  • Dispose ashes in a tightly covered metal container and place it outdoors.

For many seniors, winter maintenance and concerns are some of the main reasons for getting a helping hand around the house or considering a move to a worry-free retirement apartment or senior care community. Concordia always offers free, personalized tours at all of our senior care locations for individuals wishing to learn more. And our visiting nurses and in-home private care options can help people remain in their homes as long as possible. Contact us today about how we can help with your family’s senior care needs.

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